« PreviousContinue »
Proofs of the connection of Peter, as stated by Mr Greswell,
fession, and circumstances of St Peter,
Plan adopted in the Synopsis,
WHEN engaged in studying the nautical style of St Luke, for the purpose of illustrating his narrative of the voyage and shipwreck of St Paul, I compared his account of the storm on the lake of Galilee with those of Matthew and Mark, the other two evangelists who record the same event. The results of the comparison were entirely unexpected by me; for when I first read the New Testament continuously in the original, and noticed the agreement of many passages in the Gospel of Mark with those of the Gospel of Matthew, I naturally concluded that Mark, who was not himself an eyewitness, had copied from Matthew, who was. In the present instance, the nautical expression, dathay ávépov,
squall of wind,” which occurs both in Mark and Luke, attracted my attention, as indicating that in this particular narrative a closer connection subsisted between Mark and Luke than between Mark and Matthew. In order to ascertain the precise nature of the connection, I copied the accounts in parallel columns; and, upon comparing them, was led to conclude that St Luke must have had both of the other accounts before him—Matthew in Greek, Mark in another language (Hebrew); that he had based his account on that of Mark, but completed it from Matthew; that he had omitted nothing but autoptical details, such as eyewitnesses naturally employ—had inserted nothing but what could be inferred from the facts stated by the other evangelists; that where he copied Matthew, the agreement was verbal; where he copied Mark, there was that kind of variation which occurs in independent translators from the same original. For reasons to be afterwards stated, I concluded that the original memoir was written by the Apostle Peter, and translated by Mark; and that it was in consequence of this that Mark was designated by the Fathers the translator of Peter, (Μάρκος ερμηνευτής Πέτρου.)
My researches were conducted so far in entire ignorance of those of a certain school of critics in Germany, being resident at the time in Jersey, where I had no access to their works. I had, however, the advantage of submitting them to my learned friend, Dr Robertson, Professor of Church History in the University of Edinburgh, then also residing in that island, who took much interest in the investigation, considering it of importance in clearing up points which Neologian criticism had contrived to involve in obscurity, and which had resolved the historical accounts of the rise of Christianity into myths and legends. To use his own words, since written to me, “It fights the Germans with their own weapons, and proves that an impartial and independent criticism, if only deserving of the name, instead of subverting, establishes the foundations of inspired truth.”
Encouraged by the approbation and advice of so competent a judge, I appended to my former work, on the Voyage of St Paul, a dissertation on the sources of St Luke's writings, which may be considered as the prodromus of the present work; for although the immediate object was to elucidate the origin of the Gospel of St Luke, it embraced, to a certain extent, its connection with the other Gospels, and theirs with each other.
I certainly have no reason to regret having done so, for the criticisms it called forth have been eminently useful to me—in some cases, by suggesting difficulties which I hope to explain, in others by removing them. My object, in the following synopsis, has been to exhibit all the parallel passages, in the first three Gospels, in which I consider that one or more evangelists have made use of the writings of the others, or of a common original. It may be here asked, why I confine the comparison to the first three Gospels ? The answer I have to make is, that I did very carefully copy out, in parallel columns, John's account of the events which had also been related by the other evangelists, but in every case I found that his accounts were those of an independent eyewitness relating them in his own language. Now, if John wrote after the other evangelists from his own observation, it is obvious that there could be no documentary agreement between them. Agreements such as exist between John and the other evangelists require no elucidation, and therefore I leave them altogether out of sight. But independent agreements are not confined to John's Gospel, they also occur in the other three : such are the accounts of the early life of our Saviour, of his visit to Nazareth, and of the crucifixion and subsequent events, as given by St Luke. These I have also, for the same reason, omitted. I have also omitted the passages peculiar to Matthew and Luke, where they have given independent accounts of the same transactions ;-to have included them would have given unnecessary extension to the synoptical tables, which are not intended to dispense with the subsidiary use of the New Testament by those who study them. I have, however, given the entire Gospel of Mark in its own order—not because I assume his order to be more strictly chronological than that of the other evangelists, but because I consider that the description of the author of this Gospel, given by the earliest of the post-apostolic Fathers, MAPKOS ‘EPMHNEYTHE NETPOY, “ Mark, the translator of Peter,” furnishes the key to the mystery of the connection of the synoptical Gospels.
In all such investigations, the first object ought to be to state the facts of the case fully and fairly, taking care not to mix them up with the reasoning founded upon them. This I have attempted It may
to do in such a manner as to enable the reader to observe, at a glance, both the agreements and the disagreements which subsist between the Gospels—a work of no inconsiderable labour, for it was not till after repeated transcriptions that I succeeded in exhibiting them in as clear a light as the limits of the page would admit. I question if there is a single section which I have not transcribed three or four times—many as often as five or six times—before I was satisfied that I had, in some measure, attained my object.
be supposed that this was an unnecessary task, and that I might have availed myself of the labours of former synoptists and harmonists; but, my object being different from theirs, I found it easier to form the synopsis from the original writings than to adapt theirs to my purposes.
In a work like the present, it is obvious that it is of the utmost importance that we should know as nearly as possible the exact words used by the original authors, in order to distinguish the cases where they used their own language, or made use of the writings of others, or where they translated from a common original. I did not consider myself entitled to select such readings as might suit my purpose, and therefore bad but two alternatives—either to adhere to the received text, or to adopt the latest critical one, founded upon the collation of the earliest manuscripts. I at first adopted the former plan, and copied the passages from the received text; but upon consideration I changed it, and have followed the text of Tischendorf, (Lips. 1849,) placing between brackets the words or sentences omitted by him, but translated in the English authorised version.
It may be satisfactory to those who look with suspicion upon the numerous various readings appended to critical editions, to know that, in that very considerable portion of the Gospels which I have copied, I have not been able to detect a shade of difference in the meaning, either doctrinal or historical. But the differences